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Computing Terms

Multi-tasking -

You see that guy over in the next cubicle trying to drink coffee, answer the phone, and read his e-mail? Well, he's multitasking, or doing several operations at the same time. Windows does this too, although it usually doesn't dump the afore mentioned coffee in its lap when the boss walks by.

Windows basically rotates CPU time between programs when it mulitasks. One program gets some CPU time, then another, until all your little programs have finished what they're doing. (You would need multiple CPUs to actually have the computer do two things simultaneously. This is called multiprocessing)

Anyhow, there are basically two types of multitasking, preemptive and cooperative. Here's the scoop on how they work:

Preemptive: The operating system controls the multitasking and determines how much time each program gets to spend with the CPU. Used with Win

Cooperative: The programs themselves control CPU time. Typically a program will use the CPU for as long as it needs it then turn control back over to the other programs. Used with Win 3.x.

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